Photos of Paris come in all shapes and sizes. There are the classic post card pics that a thousand people are taking at any one time up at trocadero…

the grey city of light

Comme ça.

And then there are the lesser-seen sides of things. Beneath trocadero there live a lot of fish. Because… it’s the Paris Aquarium.

fish in the darkLuuk and the kids, watching the fish.

kids and luuk and fish It was pretty great for the kids but also expensive. Perhaps aquariums are always a bit that way… expensive to maintain and therefore… well, anyway. Vancouver aquarium may have spoiled me for life. No beluga whales in Paris, and the sharks were kind of puny. Cool tropical fish and lobsters, though. Many nemos and many dorys.

Anyway, more Paris:

croques and crepesWe had classic Paris street food for lunch: a croque monsieur for the kids, a crêpe for me, a panini for luuk (ham and cheese makes it Parisian, right?) and for dessert, beignets! (Mini filled donuts, but the ones in Antony are better…)

This week the Christmas lights arrived… the official town lights are UP but not ON, which is strangely depressing. But the shops put them on while they’re still putting them up.

Christmas Pig-outIn the spirit of christmas, the season of pigging out, we have this picture of a family feast and candy ornaments everywhere. The gift shop on Rue de l’Eglise has since added a Santa parachuting beneath a lit-up umbrella.

I, for one, think the dry cleaners got it about right. Christmas is pressing. ‘Tis true.

christmas if pressing

I do love the whole bi-lingual homophone word-play thing. Gives me thrills every day. I mean, EVERY day.

Yesterday Elena and I went into Paris. I’m stocking up on Parisian bits and bobs to take back to NZ for our friends/family (get your requests in now), and so we spent some time in the mall at Les Halles and then ascended to ground level for Hema (Dutch chain, loved by the French, though they cannot pronounce the name… Loved by me for their 75 cent stuffed speculaas.)

christmas window

This is a christmas window. To be fair, it might have been misunderstood without the notice.

Shopped-out, the kid and I continued on to Le Lilas for lunch with a friend of mine.

street art in le lilas

Street art, on the way to the restaurant.

We did cous cous and tajines for lunch, and Elena ate only the honey chevre entrée. Silly girl. Then onward to my friend’s workplace: a gallery of mostly documentary/art films.

The first was footage from soviet youth day in 1987 (just before the fall of the soviet union) collated with audio (which I didn’t understand). The footage was subtitled in French so I could follow much of that, at least.

elena hiding in the 80sSpot the kid among the 80s Russians…

elena and the soviets

Elena and the Soviets.

The video was mostly like an olympic-opening-ceremony style performance, with a lot of people in colour-coordinated garb, making shapes and patterns in a large stadium… but later on there were soldiers and some of the audience shots were in slow-mo. Very ominous, really.

elena on screenThe end.

Elena was pretty cool about sitting in the dark, watching the young Russians dancing, and then we wandered around the light part of the gallery and she looked at everything.

the punk'd portraits

No one else was there, so that made it simpler with Elena. Galleries with kids isn’t impossible, but generally we shepherd them about, or strap them into the pushchair. Unless there are no other customers, and then it’s gloriously free reign (so long as she doesn’t touch the hot projectors…)

elena at Khiasma, paris

Wandering the exhibition spaces.

dancing soldiers and elena

This documentary was a collection of all the (many) clips of soldiers in Iraq… dancing. Which was both hilarious and interesting – the environments they’re in, the other people around them, reacting, the oppressive boredom that is a big part of war, it seems. Fascinating. But also quite a laugh, at times. Black comedy, of sorts.

Elena kept touching the walls, trying to reach into the films. One of the perks of going to galleries with a kid: you see things, to some degree, from their perspective as well as your own.

We returned to Antony (about an hour’s travel) and spent the remainder of the afternoon at a friend’s house – she’d collected Louis from school. The wee man has done a whole week of full days now. Go Louis! I was too tired to get us up and off home so we lingered, planning on Sushi for dinner. But Luuk got home early and cooked. Risotto! Brilliant husband, that one.